Jack Frost has already drawn up his list of greenhouses to visit. Will you
be ready? Here's the routine we follow at our house each fall:
1. Clean The Greenhouse
Take all plants out of the greenhouse and thoroughly
clean the frame, glazing and benches. Physan
20 is an effective disinfectant.
Make glass sparkle brightly again with your favorite glass cleaner.
(At Charley's, we use Windex Window & Outdoor Surface hose-end cleaner
on our display models.) For stubborn algae spots, I spray with Physan
20 or household bleach and let them soak before rinsing. For tree pitch
and adhesive residue, I use Citrus
Fiberglass and Multi-Wall polycarbonate should be rinsed and then washed
with a mild liquid dishwashing soap and lukewarm water. Use a soft cloth
or sponge. For polycarbonate, rub only in the same direction as the
channels to avoid scratches that show. For more Multi-Wall cleaning
tips see Greenhouse
Cleaning & Maintenance.
Wood frameworks will benefit from another application of copper or zinc
preservative or latex paint. Metal frames, door hinges and vents should
2. Heat Conservation/Insulation
If you have wanted to upgrade your greenhouse, now is
the time to replace poly or single glass with insulated Multi-Wall polycarbonate.
Charley's shop will cut the panels to fit your requirements. Send us
your sizes for price quotes.
Replace any broken glass or aging poly cover. Caulk
as necessary, especially around the foundation. Apply foam tapes to
doors and vents to make an airtight seal.
If you have single layer glass and plan to heat your
Insulation can provide significant heat savings. Simply apply to
the inside of the walls and roof.
3. Check Your Heater
Test run your heater and replace any component that
does not operate perfectly. Clean the fan blades and oil the motor.
Check the accuracy of the heater thermostat... Monitor
air temperature with a min./max. thermometer. Set the heater thermostat
10°F above the present temperature. When the heater shuts off, reset
the min./max. thermometer. Let the system run for 30 minutes with several
on/off cycles. Check the min./max. thermometer. Variation should be
2°F to 4°F. More than 6°F variation should be investigated
4. Winter Storm Emergencies
Keep a backup heater ready for immediate use. Portable
propane and kerosene heaters aer popular emergency heaters. Remember
- both require some ventilation. Also have on hand a storm
cover, extra polyfilm
repair tape. Make a checklist of what you'll do if severe weather
strikes or the greenhouse heater fails.
Power Failure: A battery-operated temperature
alarm is essential if the heat goes off in the middle of the night.
If you do not have a backup heater, you can provide temporary heat by
draining the household water heater and placing buckets of hot water
in the greenhouse. Cover the plants with newspapers.
If Freezing Is Unavoidable: BE SURE TO DRAIN ALL WATER
LINES! Spray plants with water. A coating of ice (32°F) will offer
some protection from colder temperatures for hardier plants.